Manchester United will be hoping to make up some ground in the top four race when they take on Leicester City in front of the Old Trafford crowd on Saturday evening. Fourteen points separate sixth-placed Manchester United from tenth-placed Leicester City. So, the teams will have different motivations going into this tie.
At one point, Manchester United were the obvious favourites for finishing fourth behind Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea. But, they dropped several crucial points over the past several months, allowing Arsenal and Tottenham to surpass them in the standings.
Ralf Rangnick’s men picked up a revitalizing win over Tottenham before the international break to renew their hopes for the top four. Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick to help his side edge Spurs 3-2. But, they could not build on that momentum and lost to Atletico Madrid days later and got knocked out of the Champions League.
Man United have some big games coming up this month, including visits to Anfield and The Emirates. So, they would be hoping to get the maximum amounts from the matches leading up to those challenging away trips. Leicester City is the first obstacle on the road, with Norwich City and Everton to follow.
Mason Greenwood will be out of the squad as his suspension persists. Edinson Cavani sustained a calf injury during international duty with Uruguay, which could also keep him out. Fred and Alex Telles will face late fitness tests. Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane had injury scares playing for France, but they are ready to face Leicester.
Leicester City have had an underwhelming Premier League campaign thus far, but they will draw inspiration from the fact that they have been excellent against United lately. They won all three of their meetings with the Red Devils across all competitions, including a 4-2 hammering of the Manchester outfit at the King Power Stadium last October.
But, Brendan Rodgers might think that he should prioritize the Conference League over the Premier League since Leicester are one of the best teams in that competition and have the quality to win it. They will face PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of the Conference League quarterfinals. Could that be a distraction when they visit Old Trafford?
With 11 matches to play, it does not appear odds-on that Leicester City will claim a European spot. They are currently 12 points away from the seventh spot. Even though they have three matches in hand, it’s far from favourable.
On the other hand, winning the Conference League will guarantee a Europa League spot next season for Leicester. So, we will not be surprised if Brendan Rodgers decides to rest some of his key players in the United match.
The match will come too soon for Jamie Vardy, who is working his way back from a knee injury. Wilfred Ndidi, Ryan Bertrand, and Danny Ward are guaranteed to miss the game.
As we pointed out above, this match bears greater significance to Manchester United than it does to Leicester. Despite Leicester’s recent success against United, we must not forget they have only won four away games this season. But we don’t think Man United’s leaky defence will keep Leicester from scoring. We predict that both teams will score, but it will be Manchester United who will have the last laugh.
Manchester United to win, both teams to score @ 2.85.